They take on the responsibilities and expectations of a Middle School student. They learn to be proactive in seeking academic help and advocating for themselves. They also learn what it means to be part of a community and the responsibility that comes along with this, both in and out of the classroom.
Students build a thorough understanding of fractions, decimals, and percents and the relationships among these representations of rational numbers. They develop and apply algorithms for fraction operations and review methods for finding products and quotients of decimals. In geometry, the focus is on two dimensions: students learn terminology and basic properties associated with polygons and develop formulas for area and perimeters of a variety of two-dimensional figures, including circles. Students begin to investigate the elements of algebra as they sketch and interpret qualitative graphs that describe real-world situations, and as they write and evaluate one- variable expressions, leading to the solving of simple equations.
Our science program is an integrated program for a whole year. We use themes to create a framework for understanding the connections between science disciplines. In this way, students learn that seemingly different processes, structures, or systems can be shown to have underlying similarities. Students are asked to learn science by engaging their hands and their minds. By doing science activities and analyzing their results, students learn the whys and the hows, not just the whats and whens. Ultimately, they learn to see science as a system for making sense of the world. At all times, concepts and skill development are emphasized over memorization of facts.
Systems and Subsystems in Earth and Life Science
Earth System Interactions Cause Weather
Causes and Effects of Regional Climates
Effects of Global Warming on Living Systems
The sixth grade curriculum strives to instill in students a life-long love of words. Reading, writing and the study of grammar strengthen and enhance students’ appreciation of the English language and their respect for fine literature. The literature selected reflects a diversity of cultural, as well as personal, experiences. Emphasis is placed on reading strategies and an introduction to literary terms and devices required for literary analysis. With writing instruction, revision and editing are presented as important and necessary steps in the writing process. Writing skills are taught explicitly throughout the year, beginning with a review of paragraphing and organizational skills and ending with lessons on writing style and fluency. For grammar instruction, students are placed in differentiated groups based on each student’s individual needs and complete student-directed group work. Grammar instruction focuses on both parts of speech and on editing skills integral to accurate writing.
Geography and World Studies
The sixth grade geography and world cultures course strives to build geographic literacy. Students acquire a geographic vocabulary, utilize and improve map skills and gain knowledge about people and places around the world. In turn, students analyze and interpret that knowledge, and communicate their ideas in a variety of ways, including formal and creative writing, PowerPoint/Photo Story, letters, poetry, and posters. Key topics include Earth’s basic support systems, the use of resources, demographics and culture. Special area studies include Africa and India. Textbooks, news articles, Internet sources and the novels Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan and Facing the Lion by Joseph Lekuton provide source material for the course. Where possible, special projects support the annual celebration of National Geography Awareness Week.
The study of world language is a key component of the Middle School curriculum. three languages are offered to Middle School students: French, Spanish, and Chinese. All students can continue studying the world language they began in Lower School or begin the language designated as the entry-level class in 6th grade (French in odd years, Spanish in even years). In addition, all eighth grade students may elect to take an exploratory class in Latin while continuing their study of Spanish, French or Chinese. New students entering RPCS during Middle School are placed in world language according to their experience, ability and interest. For students new to RPCS without prior experience studying a modern language, preparation includes summer study or work with a tutor followed by a placement test. New 8th graders entering RPCS without prior modern language instruction may opt to audit an 8th grade class in Chinese, French, or Spanish to prepare to take the level 1 class in Upper School.
French, Grades 6 – 8:
For students who began the study of French prior to entering Middle School, French 6B (sixth grade), 7B (seventh grade), and 8B (eighth grade) continue the presentation of the fundamentals of the French language in a highly structured program. Students new to French in 6th grade follow a sequence of French 6A, 7A, and 8A and will complete the level 1 curriculum in Middle School. French vocabulary and idioms are presented with emphasis on developing conversational skills. The goal is to for students to be able to function comfortably in a French-speaking environment. Students will also learn how to write strong, grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs. These courses also seek to broaden the students’ cultural awareness of French-speaking nations around the world by using multiple forms of technology. Upon successful completion of the 6B, 7B, 8B Middle School sequence, students may advance to French III at the start of ninth grade. Upon successful completion of the 6A, 7A, 8A Middle School sequence, students may advance to French II at the start of ninth grade.
Spanish, Grades 6 – 8:
For students who began the study of Spanish prior to entering Middle School, Spanish 6B (sixth grade), 7B (seventh grade), and 8B (eighth grade) continue the presentation of the fundamentals of the Spanish language in a highly structured program. Students new to Spanish in 6th grade follow a sequence of Spanish 6A, 7A, and 8A and will complete the level 1 curriculum in Middle School. Spanish vocabulary and idioms are presented with emphasis on developing conversational skills. The goal is to for students to be able to function comfortably in a Spanish-speaking environment. Students will also learn how to write strong, grammatically correct sentences and paragraphs. These courses also seek to broaden the students’ cultural awareness of Spanish-speaking nations around the world by using multiple forms of technology. Upon successful completion of the 6B, 7B, 8B Middle School sequence, students may advance to Spanish III at the start of ninth grade. Upon successful completion of the 6A, 7A, 8A Middle School sequence, students may advance to Spanish II at the start of ninth grade.
Chinese, Grades 6 – 8:
For students who began their study of Chinese prior to entering Middle School, Chinese 6 (sixth grade), Chinese 7 (seventh grade) and Chinese 8 (eighth grade) continue the fundamentals of the Chinese language in a highly structured program. Students will learn the structures and vocabulary necessary to communicate in Mandarin Chinese about aspects of daily life. Students will also study the customs, life and historical geography of China. It is possible for new students entering in 6th grade without previous study of Chinese to join the Chinese program at the 6 level with some summer work required. Students who successfully complete three years of Chinese in the Middle School may be eligible to enter Chinese III in the Upper School.